The December Night’s Magic

A quiet blanket of new fallen snow covers everything as the lighted snowman and his candy canes brightly shine in the darkness, waiting to greet the arriving day. It is dark, save for the Christmas tree and the Santa and Snowman lamps keeping me company. With each sip of my peppermint coffee, I embrace this tranquil moment, which is an experience in itself.

There’s no sound except for the ringing in my ears and the keyboard clicks as I type in a vain effort to preserve this moment of seasonal peace.

It is devoid of worries, stress, and doubt, this experience of now.

I just sit and be as each strand of silver tinsel on the tree dances in the breeze from the heat, shimmering and shining and swirling and twirling just like the snowflakes on the other side of the windows.

Night gradually evolves into morning as streaks of light appear in the eastern sky.

Little by little, I hear a different sound coming from outside as the delicate snowflakes transform into rain. Each droplet strikes with a resounding wet “plunk” alongside the new day’s advancing brightness.

Working together, the drops intentionally erase their own night’s masterpiece. The quiet blanket slowly dissolves as the whiteness bleeds into nothing.

The rain picks up pace as each drop falls from its height with more urgency in the light of full morning.

And just like that, the December night’s magic disappears with a swift twirl of its wand.

Abracadabra.

~ Written on December 17, 2016 by Jill Ocone. Author’s note: I intentionally did not include a photograph so that you could imagine the scene based upon my description.  

What will your verse be?

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We are standing on the horizon of a new year’s birth.

It’s time to say goodbye to regret, to bitterness, to suffering, and to negativity.

It’s time to say hello to living, to positivity, to happiness, and to enjoyment.

It’s time to make GOOD memories with those we cherish, complete with smiles and with laughter.

It’s time to accomplish that goal we have had for years, the one that just keeps collecting dust in the corner.

As Walt Whitman wrote,

YOU ARE HERE.

LIFE EXISTS, AND IDENTITY.

THE POWERFUL PLAY GOES ON.

AND YOU MAY CONTRIBUTE A VERSE.

So, the question is my friend,

What will your verse be?

I can guarantee you that my verse for 2016 will be filled with awesomeness.

Why?  Because…

I AM HERE.

My life exists.

I see my identity.

And I will contribute my verse with enthusiasm, dedication, and most of all, determination.

The time is now.  Make it happen.

Let Robin Williams’ character John Keating fill you with inspiration with Whitman’s words as we explode into 2016.

Happy New Year, friend!

Until next year,

Jill

What Will YOur Verse Be Full Square

Something to SEA: Rainy Day Clicks for 9/12/2015

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Hello friends!

It is clear that it is going to take some time to adjust to the change in my schedule, going from summer to school year, and I am having a lot of difficulty finding my groove (I sure hope I can find it).  However, I have been able to save some interesting Internet finds for you.  When you are tooling around on a rainy day, check them out.

Writing With a Heavy Teaching Load (very appropriate right how, for others in the same boat as me)

A Song for Ireland

Women, Creativity, & Moving Past Fear with Elizabeth Gilbert

Time for Change?

Make Better Decisions

Passion Planner for 2016 (I love mine for 2015-been using it all year)

A Pink Dolphin!

and finally

The Night Derek Jeter became Mr. November 

Until next time,

Jill

 

Sea The Importance of NOW

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You know that place you want to see?

Go there.

The thing you want to try?

Try it.

The book you want to write?

Write it.

The book you want to read?

Read it.

The song you want to sing?

Sing it.

The journey you want to take?

Take it.

The recipe or craft you want to make?

Make it.

The person you want to share time with?

See him.  See her.

The person you want to hug?

Hug him.  Hug her.

The person you want to forgive?

Forgive him.  Forgive her.

The words you want to say?

Say them.

The memories you want to have?

Make them.

Now.

Tomorrow is not promised.

Do it today.

Live in the moment.

Cherish the present.

You only get one life to live.

Live it.

Now.

 

“‘Sea’ What We Are”

Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” has been one of my favorite books ever since I first read it back in the dark ages of the mid-1980’s.  The story of Scout, Jem, Atticus, Boo, Tom and Dill always resonated with me, not so much because of the moral messages, but moreso because it brings back memories of childhood summers, when I didn’t have to have a care in the world.  In fact, when I used to teach summer school, I would save this book for the last book we would read, hoping that it would make the same impact on my students, but I could never read the last two pages out loud because they made me tear up.

Yes, that’s the sap in me.

But, that’s also the problem with me.

There’s a difference in looking back fondly on wonderful, nostalgic memories and in letting the past having a hold on the present.  And that’s where my guilt lies.

I have spent too much time over the last 20+ years looking back in retrospect.  They say that “Hindsight is 20/20,” and I completely agree with that.  My problem, though, is that I wasted hours re-doing events from the past 20 or so years in my mind the RIGHT way, and wistfully wishing for the impossibility of a different outcome.  The bad decisions, the heartache, the burned bridges, the wasted money…all of it.

I am guilty of letting past failures overshadow present goodness and worth, which as a result negatively affected my PRESENT peace of mind and wasted time I could have spent in a more positive manner.

This ties in perfectly with what I found to be the most powerful three sentences in Harper Lee’s newly released and highly anticipated book, “Go Set a  Watchman.”  Since “TKAM” is one of my favorite books, and since I am a high school English teacher, I had to get the book the day it was released.  Once it was in my hands, I finished it in three days.

If you haven’t read it, this will not be a spoiler by any means, and I do not wish to discuss any praises or flaws with the book itself.

However, this one passage really hit home:

“Remember this also:  it’s always easy to look back and see what we were, yesterday, ten years ago.  It is hard to see what we are.  If you can master that trick, you’ll get along.” – Dr. John Finch/Harper Lee

When I read that, I stopped and re-read it at least 3o times.  I wrote it down in on a post-it to put in my planner.  And I really thought about it…

It is easy to look back and see what we WERE…it is hard to see what we ARE.

And it is so true.

For years, instead of seeing what I AM, I saw what I WAS, which as Dr. Finch said, was easy to do.

But, doing that took precious moments and time away from my PRESENT and my FUTURE, leading to stress and disappointment, to disillusionment and bitterness rather than to acceptance and peace.

But NOW…

I “SEA” WHAT I AM.

I definitely haven’t mastered it like Dr. Finch advised, but I realize the importance of what I AM and of my place in the NOW.

I cannot change the past.  That is done.  And it took me this long to finally admit it.

I will no longer wish to change or apologize for the things I did or the choices I made.  I’ve done my time and asked for forgiveness for too long, most importantly, from myself.

Instead, the person I AM, who is a result of all of those things and choices, forgives me and will focus on and live in the PRESENT (while acting responsibly for my future self).

So, what am I?  Well, let’s “sea”…

I am a wife.  A partner.  A writer.  A photographer.  A teacher.  A student.  A sister.  A daughter.  An aunt.  A daughter in law.  A sister in law.  A friend.  A colleague.  A collector.  An observer.  A reader.  A thinker.  A doer.  An ambassador for kindness.  A traveler.  A woman.  A person.  An “endurer.”

And, most importantly, I am a human following Dr. Finch’s advice of mastering the art of seeing what I am, one day at a time.

 

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So, what are you?  I’d love to know.

Until next time,

Jill